This Podcast Writing Course Will Help You Work on Your Dream Novel
The podcast “Tim Clare’s Sofa to Writing 80K” is a delightful, intense, and inspiring eight-week journey to writing a novel. For the best experience, enter it blindly; all you need to know is that it is good and suitable for any level of experience. If you’d like to find out more, keep reading, but be aware that there may be spoilers here.
Okay, just us? I will not divulge specific written exercises, but I will give you a rough map of where this course will take you. This is an adventure! At first I thought I’d listen to a few episodes to see if they were worth recommending. Instead, it attracted me and I went through the entire course. Ever since I finished, I miss Tim Clare’s encouraging and slightly angry voice every day. But now this pleasure can be yours.
What to expect
This podcast contains eight weeks of daily writing exercises designed to get you – a novice or an exhausted published writer – on your way to completing your novel. Each episode is approximately 20 minutes long and includes 10 minutes of silence during which you do your daily charge. (The last week has a slightly different structure, but the episodes are still roughly the same length.)
By the way, 80K represents the concept of the novel, not the number of words you will write during the course. This is impossible neither with the speed of a human set, nor with the hand, as he recommends.
I asked Claire about it and he said, “80k is cool in the middle of your main novel. 60-100k is probably the more representative range. I chose 80k because I wanted to use the language of these programs Couch to 5k and 80 is a good target. Oh, and I think it was a little reaction to what NaNoWriMo called the 50k novel. If you really want to do justice to your book, you have to think in almost double terms. “
The episodes are blended in the Clare’s Death of 1000 Cuts podcast feed, so you can create weekly playlists in your podcast app to keep track of them. Some weeks have an optional “reflection” episode at the end.
What will you learn
Claire hints in the first episode: “We’re going to visit the cemetery and dispatch the demons. You will travel into your past, copy and modify classic literary works. ” This is all true.
Don’t think of writing each day as a chapter or scene in your novel. Instead, it’s an experiment. Sometimes you will ponder lists of options or recount the mundane events of your life in some notoriously ridiculous literary style. Even as you write real-life scenes in the final weeks of the course, Claire advises: “You are not writing the final version. You’re just testing a few options for the first draft. ” It’s perfectly okay if some of the lyrics you get are crappy, but you’ll also likely find gems there and learn something about your own brain in the process.
Here’s a roadmap of topics for each week:
- Week 1: lists . “Lists are the creative mind’s best friend,” says Claire. Sometimes it’s easier to come up with a dozen ideas than one. Later in the course, you will extract history items from these lists.
- Week 2: freewriting . This week you are practicing writing literally anything until time runs out . If you are doing morning pages , this is old news. However, Claire makes it interesting. Promise. He also talks about when freewriting is useful and how it can produce more than just junk.
- Week 3: Disguise yourself or let the other person’s words flow through you. Surprisingly, you can start with a name or a picture, and pretty soon you are writing the character’s story without even planning it. It’s kind of like magic.
- Week 4: style . This week you will write in different styles and from different perspectives. This is not about teaching you certain styles, but how creating weird constraints can distance you from the story enough to be approached like a puzzle.
- Week 5: psychological assessment . This is about you and your brain. You will find out why you write, how you feel about it and what problems remain in the depths of your mind that bother you. Some of the exercises ask you to think about past trauma in your life, but you have permission to do another exercise or skip them entirely if you feel that focusing on the trauma will do you more harm than good.
- Week 6: metaphors . You will learn to be specific and creative in describing things.
- Week 7: Generation and implementation of ideas . The first exercise this week is a great exercise in determining what kind of story you are going to write. By the end of this week, you will have a very rough sketch of the novel.
- Week 8: Self-writing time . You will build on what you did in week 7, but with the freedom to decide what and how to write about. These sessions are longer, with 20 minutes of recording and a halfway sound effect that will scare you to death.
Claire gives a lot of wise advice along the way: your creativity is like a shy puppy, but if you lure him out to an open area to play, he can become a fun companion. You can’t bring yourself to write, because a distraction removes that guilt more easily than writing. (Ugh, I can feel it.) You have to carry your notebook around with you like artists carry a sketchbook, and fill it with lists and ideas that span the gamut from silly to serious. (Claire recently tweeted pages from her notebook of bad ideas.)
Not only did I appreciate the instructions and practice time, but Claire’s thoughts on how to develop a healthy attitude towards writing. It’s difficult! Writers sympathize with the difficulties of the process all the time, but he notes that it can get out of hand. In week five, he notes that “the [publishing] industry is shamefully facing the normalization of destructive working practices.” You can write without hating yourself. And this podcast can help you with that.